Literature

Against the Tide

After the Second World War, the literary and intellectual scene in France was dominated by the terrible two of French philosophy and letters, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. For many, from the mid-forties until 1980 or so, Sartre was an untarnished hero, a man who had been imprisoned in 1940 by the Germans, who had helped found the underground group Socialisme et Liberté, who had established the left-leaning magazine Les Temps Modernes, who developed a “philosophy” he called existentialism, who was arrested for civil disobedience in May 1968 and who remained on the Left all his life. A few…

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